CFP: Metaphysics of Contemporary Physics

Call for papers

Metaphysics in Contemporary Physics

Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities

Edited by Tomasz Bigaj and Christian Wüthrich

Very recently, and after a long hiatus, the metaphysics of physics has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance, with both philosophers and physicists addressing explicitly metaphysical questions that arise in the context of physics and the interpretation of its theories. As theoretical physics has achieved dramatic progress, pushing back the boundaries of our knowledge and forcing us to rethink our most fundamental concepts describing physical reality, questions about the impact of this rapid development on traditionally conceived metaphysical investigations become urgent. Does it make metaphysics irrelevant, or does it call for an altogether new metaphysics? On the other hand, physics has encountered more than a few roadblocks in its fundamental endeavours, e.g. in attempts to bring gravity into the fold of the standard model. Could reconceiving the metaphysical foundations of fundamental physical theories possibly lead to a breakthrough, as some have suggested?

The aim of this volume is to bring together papers that address various aspects of the mutual interrelations between contemporary research in theoretical physics and the conceptual work done in analytic metaphysics. The suggested topics for the contributions to the volume include, but are most definitely not limited to, the following questions: “Are fundamental objects postulated by our physical theories (elementary particles, fields, spacetime points, etc.) individuals with intrinsic properties and well-defined identities, or perhaps relational structures with no relata?”, “What is the ontological significance of symmetries in physical theories?”, “How does spacetime emerge from the quantum phenomena?”.

We invite original research papers on topics related to the general description of the planned volume. The deadline for submissions is January 15, 2014. Please send your manuscripts to tbigaj@ucsd.edu. We aim to make the final decisions regarding the publication of submitted contributions by April 30, 2014.

Poznan Studies in the Philosophy of the Sciences and the Humanities publishes guest-edited volumes devoted to the philosophy of the natural sciences, the social sciences and the humanities as well as to foundational topics in metaphysics, epistemology and social philosophy. More info and back volumes can be found on the web http://www.rodopi.nl/senj.asp?SerieId=PS .

Tomasz Bigaj is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Philosophy, University of Warsaw, Poland, and a Marie Curie research fellow at the University of Bristol, UK, and the University of California, San Diego, USA. His web site: http://uw.academia.edu/TomaszBigaj.

Christian Wüthrich is an Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, the University of California, San Diego, USA. His web site: http://philosophyfaculty.ucsd.edu/faculty/wuthrich/.

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1 Comment

Filed under Calls for Abstracts/Papers/Contributions, wuthrich

One response to “CFP: Metaphysics of Contemporary Physics

  1. Roger

    I’m only an amateur thinker, but it seems to me that “the metaphysics of physics” could be replaced by “the physics of metaphysics”. If metaphysics is the study of “being”, and the universe “be”s or “exists”, and physics is the study of the universe, then it seems as if the laws of physics should derive from metaphysics. My own view is that starting with a bottom up approach from metaphysics and then, from it, building a model that can make testable predictions in physics will lead to faster progress in physics. This view, that I sometimes call philosophical engineering, is the view I take in my own thinking at my website at: sites.google.com/site/ralphthewebsite

    Thank you for listening!

    Roger Granet

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